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Joni Ernst is right about tariffs
April 6, 2018

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America's economy would be more robust if this nation were able to sell in the international marketplace more of the products that are made or grown here. Unfortunately, achieving a positive trade balance overall has been an elusive goal.

A long history of unfair trade practices by some nations has had a negative impact on American manufacturing. Factories have closed. Jobs have been lost.

President Donald Trump is using tariffs on some imports as a way to protect certain American industries. He apparently hopes that by doing so he will bring about negotiations that will eliminate many of the trading approaches that have harmed our nation's manufacturers. Improving their ability to sell more American-made products internationally is a worthy goal.

The problem for Iowa, however, is that the agricultural sector is already achieving substantial success in the world marketplace. Selling American farm products internationally already makes an important contribution to our nation's economy. It's also hugely significant for the Hawkeye State. According to information provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, agricultural exports support more than 1 million American jobs.

During a recent visit to Fort Dodge, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst discussed her concerns about the dangers a trade war could pose to our state's economy. The Iowa Republican urged caution in imposing tariffs and has conveyed her concerns to the president. She understands that if other nations react by imposing new or increased tariffs on American products our nation's hugely successful agricultural exports would be a likely target.

"I support the president in his efforts to preserve American jobs," Ernst said. "I think that's really important. But what I try to communicate to the president is that now we might Z repercussions where the American farmer is suffering because of the tariffs."

Farm News has long been a strong advocate of boosting agricultural sales abroad. We applaud Ernst's efforts to make sure that the president takes into account the possible ramifications for agriculture of his tariff policies.

Bringing about trade policies internationally that are fairer to the U.S. would be a wonderful achievement. Seeking a better environment for American manufacturers is crucial. It is also vital, however, that in accomplishing that worthy outcome there be no harm to American agriculture. Ernst is sounding that message strongly in Washington.

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